Lent 2017: You Are Mine: Day 24

Our Only Help

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Today's Text: Isaiah 31:1-9, Isaiah 32:1-20, Psalm 147:10-11, Joel 2:28-32

Text: Isaiah 31:1-9, Isaiah 32:1-20, Psalm 147:10-11, Joel 2:28-32

I’m training for a half marathon and nobody knows about it. Until now. Well, “training” is a very scary and overly athletic-sounding term for what I’ve actually been doing. The simple truth is, I signed up for a race a while back, and I’m trying my best to not quit.

If you check my running history (read: “couch-sitting”), you’ll see that the odds of my completing the race aren’t exactly favorable. Then you’ll understand why you’re the first to hear about this half-marathon business: because I’m afraid to fail. I don’t want my family and friends to be cheering and waiting for me at a finish line I’ll never cross.

Some mornings, I wake up ready to tie my shoes and pound the pavement. Others, I can barely make the stretch to hit the snooze button. For every one of my consistencies, there are five inconsistencies. When I give attention to one thing, others suffer.

I’m not sure that I’m a real runner.
I will try my best to keep my promises.
I cannot make any guarantees.

Isaiah prophesies about running. He tells Israel they will run from their country. He tells us we will run from our God.

Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help
and who depend on horses!
They trust in the abundance of chariots
and in the large number of horsemen.
They do not look to the Holy One of Israel
and they do not seek the Lord’s help.
- Isaiah 31:1

We think we can run on our own fuel. But when we try to do just that, we end up running away from the only One who can help us.

The promises we make to ourselves and others—to be more, to do better, to show up—can only ever be based on future hope. But God’s promises—to love us, to fight for our good, to never leave—are hinged on His current character and constant devotion. We can only hope to be consistent; He is constant.

Like the Israelites, if we look to our current disasters and future betrayals, we may think God, too, is running from His people. But if we look first to His promises, we see His loving path is already there, laid out before us, ready and waiting.

Isaiah also says this about our Lord: “But He also is wise and brings disaster. He does not go back on what He says” (Isaiah 31:2). Because love isn’t always giving us what we want; it’s being Who we need. While I can’t guarantee you’ll see me at the finish line in a few months, I know He’ll still be running to me—to all of us—just as He promised.

Praise the Lord, our only help, for He is faithful.

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  • As I sit, praying, even begging, for God’s miraculous healing, a large surgery looms for my daughter. She has already endured so much. So many surgeries, a number God knows, that I stopped counting.

    Questions formed in my mind this week, doubts, that I’ve admitted to a close friend who shares a similar situation.

    Days 23 and 24 have spoken to my heart. Calmedbthe anxiety. Reminded me that miracles come in different forms, even in unexpected ways. Not MY preferred way, but it’s there. God has a much greater plan than my short term vision.

    And yet, it is still hard knowing what’s coming. That with a gesture or command, God could heal. 100%.

    I ponder the verses from Psalm 147. The Lord provides for the faithful. I will praise Him in whatever way He provides.

    Thankful I’m behind in this study. Because really, in my life, these verses, the timing is perfect.

  • Tracie Nall

    I too am so behind, I was doing well, caught up and on track (by my standard) and then LIFE! But God, (two of my favorite words in the whole English language) is showing me it isn’t about the pace but the perseverance, so I am picking up today where I am in the race and beginning to walk again, no jog, no run and definitely not a sprint, just a walk with God through the garden of His Word! Thank you for keeping the archive available for ladies like me! Be encouraged friends, God doesn’t judge our race based on our pace but on our perseverance! He just wants us to cross the finish line into glory as a better reflection of His Son!

  • I too am “behind” on the study but trying to stay consistent is more difficult than ever-
    I was struck by all of your comments on confidence- I too try to “be in control ” yet I know ultimately only He holds my life in His hands. That’s all the confidence I need.

  • This is the first moment in this Lenten Study where I’ve really felt hopeful. 32:9 “Stand up, you complacent woman; listen to me.” jumped right off the page. I feel like I live my life in complacency. It is the thing I want most to change, yet, all too often (read: DAILY), I find myself making choices that speak to my complacency, that further my choice to be complacent. I want (no, NEED) to listen to the voice of the Lord, to make choices that honor him, to put my ‘hope in His faithful love’.
    Today is also the first day in 5 days I’ve come back to the Word. I let my complacency pull me away. And even though I’m reading the ‘wrong’ passage for the date, it is so clear that I read the right passage for me. The Lord knew this is what I needed today.

    • ~Amy F.~

      I, too, am reading the “wrong” passage for the date, but I so needed to read this today! I want (need!) my love for my Lord to overcome my complacency!

    • Jillian Johnson

      Overconfident Daughter was what struck me. How often do I have more confidence in myself than in the Lord?? Turns out I can be stupidly confident in myself, and regularly. And I am usually struck with shock and dismay when my confident plan crumbles right in front of me! This section of scripture has challenged me to revisit my self-sufficiency, and to lean on the Lord for the answers instead of pretending/assuming I have all the answers.

    • Liddy

      I, too, am a couple days behind, and was reading Day 24 today. The words “complacent women” and “overconfident daughters” jumped out at me, too. I was telling someone just yesterday that I’ve really been convicted lately of the fact that I’ve been coasting – complacent – in my spiritual life, and that I’ve been convicted to do something about it – to start moving intentionally and purposefully against and out of the complacency. I wrote a note in the margin by that verse, “Complacency and overconfidence are both bad places to be.” I’ve also been struck by how often the words “listen,” “hear,” and “pay attention” are used in God’s Word. God clearly wants us to give careful and serious attention to what He’s saying – I pray that my heart will be more and more sensitive to listening, hearing, and paying attention to what He’s saying!

  • Christina

    I studied and grappled with the passage before reading your devotion, Kaitlin, and I love how the Lord speaks consistently through His Word…. and His people! I’ve included what He spoke to me below, but I wanted to wish you well on your half marathon. I’ve now run two, and I had to give up the third one I was registered for because of scheduling conflicts and burnout. I hope to get back to it one day. Thank you for sharing this morning!

    “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” Psalm 20:7

    “The promises we make to ourselves and others—to be more, to do better, to show up—can only ever be based on future hope. But God’s promises—to love us, to fight for our good, to never leave—are hinged on His current character and constant devotion. We can only hope to be consistent; He is constant.” <—-THIS is exactly why we cannot live out the Christian life on our own! We possess too many inconsistencies! It is is easy to become complacent! Only HE can live out His truth and love through us!

    I am sure the account of Isaiah 32:9-20 occurred in reality, but there is such a popping spiritual reality within it. It is the complacency of the church, the Bride of Christ, in relying on Christ to live out the love and truth of Christ that has led to briers and thorns that choke out our fruitful desire for Jesus. As a church, our teachings and lives have largely become a wasteland in which wild donkeys delight to dwell. Were we truly populated with the living out of the truth by the power of the Spirit we claim to believe, there would be no security for "wild beasts" that do not belong in our midst. "…until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high" (v. 15), we cannot be productive in our kingdom work. But if we turn from our complacency, if we stand boldly and lovingly on the Truth of the Gospel of Christ alone, "Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness abide in the fruitful field. And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever. My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places." (v. 16-18)

    • Alli

      Thank you so much for your interpretation of Is. 32:9-20, Christina! I didn’t understand the wild donkey part, or most of it for that matter, especially how it would apply today; but it makes so much sense after reading your comment. May we be willing to do the hard work of turning from our complacency and becoming obedient to what the Lord shows us–by HIS strength–and then see “the effect of righteousness.” (Vs. 17)

  • Wow what a precious promise we have from our heavenly father. It’s simple he is always there. Is not like many whom gives up when times get difficult but he is consistent.

  • I am ending my day woth today’s study, instead of starting with it. I love the reminder that, while we are inconsistent, God is constant. I needed to be reminded of that today.

  • Our Only Help. Oh Lord, I know You are the only help and only hope for me. I am so weak, with the facade of strength, fooling no one but myself. I have been awakened today from the stupor of a long and difficult season by a word of concern from someone I trust who wants to see me well and prospering, that knows my potential. I have been scraping to survive for so many years – and though I have been entrusted with a gift from the Lord that is a great part of my calling from Him, I am ashamed to say that I have allowed it to become neglected – again. I have been going through the lazy motions of honing my talent, working harder lately at keeping the outward appearance in tip top shape and failing to be the exceedingly great that I know I am capable of through Christ alone in my practice of the gift that the He has given me. The most troubling part is that my behavior is cyclical. I inevitably let things go, whether by stress or circumstance or severe depression fogging up my every mental faculty, then I fight to get back to normal, and once there, I start from scratch again. For years. I fear, in this dark moment, that I am the sole cause of my lack of success in my vocation because of it. In MY mind, I have been trying so hard to just get through the days, always desiring more and thinking I am doing what I can, I’ve been exhausted, beat down, feeling betrayed by some very real things and bitter because of them. But isn’t it also true that more than anything I have felt trapped in lethargy, powerless to get myself out of the devil’s grip – I haven’t cried out to the Lord when I ought to have been in this area, and desperately. I was too blind to see that I even needed to.

    The shame (a word so loaded, but applicable here) that I feel is so great because I don’t even have the safety net to have acted in this way – I do not live an easy life. How subtle Satan allows it all to unfold, and how I stumbled along in his erroneous path. You can be cruising along, thinking you’re being productive, thinking you’re doing okay because you are still living out your faith despite your haze, albeit weakly, until a sucker punch to the gut makes you see – makes you truly see. Wait on the Lord, always – but also do your part.

    How I relate to God’s people who have grieved their running from Him – how I understand the call for the women to stip bare and put on their sackcloth in mourning. To return. I tremble as I consider – what will the future hold for me now? The mountain seems so great. Have I missed all my chances (some very big ones)? Will the Lord bless my recommitment and focus to what I know is my calling, the calling that I have so unknowingly neglected but should have known better than to have? I sense in my spirit a deep whisper, a gentle nudge reminding me that He is the God of redemption. That this is truly what He is in the business of, and what He desires to do on my behalf. Lord, please let it be so, even for me, a wayward sinner. May He have plans for me yet, and may I not be disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:27)

    • Ann Chin.

      The lord is indeed a God of redemption, and his plans for you are still many. Nothing we do or don’t do, and no one can snatch us out of the father’s hand! He is our great shepherd, willing to leave the herd to find YOU!
      Also, your writing is simply lovely. You should write a book!

      • TL

        What a blessing it was to read and receive your comment, Ann Chin! Amen and all praise and thanksgiving to our Good Father. Thank you incredibly for your encouragement and kind words. May our Lord richly bless you in every way.

  • Amber Galleguillos

    I wanted to share this part of Isaiah: “till the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the desert becomes a fertile field, and the fertile field seems like a forest. Justice will dwell in the desert and righteousness live in the fertile field. The fruit or righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.” 32: 15-18 Reading these verses, my first thought was oh cool, I love when I read prophecy that has come to pass. Thinking this is about Jesus. And it is, but my study Bible points out this: In the present age, the blessings of redemption come to us through the Spirit, who has been poured out on believers. Yet this outpouring is only partial; we await and pray for the fullness of redemption and full outpouring of the Holy Spirit at the end of history. I think this is so awesome and it makes me smile. My thought was and our joy will be made complete!

  • My Morning Song

    Another punch in the gut reading this afternoons devotion. “We can only hope to be consistent; He is constant.” I could go on and on about all my inconsistencies and shortcomings, and it really is so discouraging when you feel like you’re trying so hard yet always coming up empty, but my prayer is this: simply that I would be made more like Him who is unwavering and unfailing. As a new wife, the guilt is stacked high as I learn how to manage a household and love and care for a husband, but I’m thankful that His grace is greater and my striving doesn’t go unnoticed. Yet also that my strivings shouldn’t be for approval, but to bring Him glory in all things.

    • Andrea

      “My strivings shouldn’t be for approval, but to bring Him glory in all things.”

      The past few days, I have put two questions on my daily planner to ask myself at the end of the day. “Did I do my best?” And “Did I make God smile today?” Leave it to my human nature and tendencies toward perfectionism to let those questions make me feel like I didn’t gain God’s approval rather than spur me on to do all things heartily as unto Him for His glory, as was my intention for them. I can’t do that! We’re not perfect! As well intended we may be, we will always fall short, someway, somehow. Hands to the Heavens that Jesus is constant and perfect, and like Kaitlynn said, we can only strive to be consistent. And when we aren’t there is grace & new mercies. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and giving me a heart check about my striving! Praying for you, sister, as you embrace this hard & wonderful journey of marriage! <3

  • “Because love isn’t always giving us what we want; it’s being Who we need.”

    Ooooh I love this. I love that you wrote being “WHO” we need and not necessarily “WHAT” we need. I struggle with going to Jesus with my to-do list of prayers. “Lord, if you could help me take care of this, or do that…” And sometimes (ummm maybe most of the time) I need to shift my focus to the things to the person… to Jesus Himself. I love this theme of Jesus first, me second that we’re reading in Isaiah. Thank you, SRT!

  • Elizabeth

    Honestly, the thought of the Lord returning does frighten me and worry me. What if I’m not really ready? How do I know if I am ready?

    • Hilary

      Elizabeth, all you have to do to be ready is pray and ask forgiveness for your sin, repent of it and turn away from it, and ask him to be Lord of your life. He doesn’t ask you to be perfect. Once He is your Savior and Lord, He will never leave you.

    • Elena

      Elizabeth, if I am honest I have been attacked with these thought as well. I get thoughts like this… “will i be good enough”, “what if he doesn’t want me” etc. But what I am learning to do is trust in his character. I will never be good enough, but his love for me is never failing so why wouldn’t he want me? I am praying for you to find peace and I highly recommend you to rebuke those thoughts. Its just the enemy trying to make you hide and question your worth to god.

    • PronetoWander

      I get a pang of ‘no not yet Lord’ when I read about his return. I worry about my unsaved family members. I understand a bit of your fear.

  • “We think we can run on our own fuel.” This is the story of my life! I LOVE efficiency. Someone once “jokingly” introduced me to a crowd by saying, “Anything you can do, Casey can do faster.” It was meant as a joke, but it was a wake up call for me. I was so concerned about progress and control and things being done in the best way possible, that I was alienating both people and God. “Just let me do it myself!” That was my common thought, like a child who doesn’t want your help learning to ride a bike or putting on an outfit. But it would only carry me so far, and before I knew it, I was defeated, overwhelmed and hurting. It reminds me of Galatians 3:3, when Paul (pretty bluntly) asks the Galatians, “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” In other words, why the heck are you trying to do it all on your own now? You were never intended to do it that way! Praying that I would rely on the Holy Spirit today as I face each new task and challenge!

  • Kaitlyn, your going to do GREAT!! I’m praying for you! You will love that feeling at the Finish line. Thank you for sharing your story too. I enjoyed your insights in your devotional. It helped me get a better understanding!

  • EXACTLY 6 years ago this month after five hours and 41 minutes I crossed the finish line of my first 26.2 miles. My motto was Philippians 4:13 “I can do anything through Christ who gives me strength”! AND let me tell you I needed it! That day was the wind was blowing and it was raining on and off! While I wasn’t too pleased with my “time”, knowing I “finished” was the a great feeling. AND seeing my family waiting for me at the FINISH line was the greatest feeling! And Churchmouse put it best MY medal looked the SAME too as the one who finished ahead of me! Life circumstances has not allowed me to run as much as I would like to, but when I do that is MY time with me and Jesus! And I enjoy every mile of it! I also picture myself sometimes when running to the finish that Jesus is at the finish line and I’m running into his arms.

  • I am so glad I found the Facebook page and this website! I really did need the reading!

  • yes yes yes! This speaks to me so much because I have a half-marathon in 3 weeks and the furthest I have ran is 4 miles. Thanks for your vulnerability here and reminding me that God never goes back on what he says!

    http://www.in-due-time.com

  • “Praise the Lord, our only help, for He is faithful.” Amen!

  • I am totally with you there sister! God always keeps his promises, if only we were like him!

  • Diane Huntsman

    I’m running a half marathon this Sunday.. I actually loathe running but it’s an opportunity to do something that is so hard for me, something that takes great discipline mentally and physically.. I don’t consider myself a “real runner” more like a totally wannabe.. but hey, I’m going for it.. it’s my 3rd one, i plan on finishing, but every step will be so very hard, will take such concentrated effort, as it always is.. just like so much of life.. it’s hard on lots of days, like even today, id much rather pull the blankets over my head and ignore what’s before me.. but as in running, life often has its limitations and it takes pressing into God to find His strength to keep going.. the temptation for the ease of what we know (Egypt) has to be seen for what it is.. a counterfeit, a fake place of security.. the promised land is where we want to head.. even though the journey is cumbersome at times and even down right scary.. His promises are true through and through.. no Egypt today, God.. nope we are going to press into You and move forward to the land flowing with milk and honey..
    and to the author of today’s reading.. your half marathon.. may you rely solely upon the One who has given you legs.. run with your heart and know that He will get you to the finish line.. in Him we can do hard things! Best wishes to you!

  • Keri McCue

    “But God’s promises…are hinged on His current character and constant devotion.” Oh how I needed this today. I get so caught up in my own head and my own abilities. If forget that He is constant. Sometimes we just need to rest in that.

    http://www.littlelightonahill.com

  • I’ve been pondering recently what is MY Egypt? My kids and I are also studying the book of Numbers right now, where the spies have just returned from scouting out the Promised Land. As the Israelites hear the reports from the ten spies who think it’s unwise to go into the Promised Land, they question whether it would be best to return to Egypt. Between this study and that one, I’m just contemplating where I turn in times in need, what my “Egypt” is and how I can turn back towards God. Thank you for your words today, Kaitlin. Run the race God has set before you and let Him carry you through to the finish line.

    • buildingmyfaith

      I’ve been wondering the same thing throughout this study. I think I have many Egypts that I turn to when a simple prayer to God is really the only thing I need.

    • .KimN

      Thanks for this great perspective to ponder ladies. Something I will need to pray about today!

  • This devotional in the dark, still, and beginning of a new day…finished my prayers…my coffee…laced up my the ol’ running shoes…stepped out into the cold dusty garage…headphones on…stepped up onto the rusty clanky treadmill…slowly picked up my pace…found that spot…that rhythm…that beat…and in the middle of so many other good ones- this song: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=CdjRmM0Q0qs …and literally brought to my knees. Thank you God- You are so good.

  • I won’t be seeing God at the end of my finish line because He’ll be running right beside me. Giving me everything I need to keep going, to keep fighting. When I become fatigued, He will carry me until I’m ready to keep going but He will give me the strength to never stop until I reach it. His promises are what keep me going. His promises are my fuel to jump any hurdles and fight through obstacles that may try and bring me down. If I fall, His hand is what pulls me back up. He loves me and without Him, I’ll never be able to finish my race. The race that will lead me into His loving presence in Heaven. You are faithful and You are simply amazing. Thank you, Lord!

  • In a “woe is me” season of great marital discord my up and down emotions were about as consistent as pro-runner training. No matter how much I would pray or read or focus, one thing would come to light or be said and suddenly my heart was on a tear out of that fear filled place. But God with His great truth would bring me right back with, “Bets, you know you have victory in ME”. And I did, I knew God’s truth that regardless of the outcome, I’d be ok because Christ had already defeated all that was on my plate, all that was attacking me and I had great confidence in that but in this earthly place and those seasons, it is one thing to stand strong in the face of dodging balls and another to not fall to their battering because if there is anything that cause can a constant battering of enemy lies it is a lack of harmony between spouses. I knew I was the daughter of a great King but I heard so frequently in my ears; “you’re a woman whose husband has gone, you’re not worthy, there is something wrong with you, etc…” and as much as I knew none of those things to be truth, I was plum worn out from the constant battle over my heart. The more I focused on Christ’s win and not my finish line, the more my heart was settled and the more I trained myself to see Him and not my pain, the stronger I got and when victory was moments away for me and I stopped just short of that finish line because of fear, He stood right with me, talking me through it, like that amazing Coach who knows just what you need to hear to keep on. And in truth, there were so many times my loving Coach carried me but leave me, He never did, nor will He ever. We will always have victory because Christ has already won and He is so incredibly gracious to share the medal.

    • Zoe

      ♥️

    • Lana

      Thank you for sharing, B. I too have recently experienced similar feelings. That Song of Solomon devotional was a real balm to my soul. I read every one of those poems as if they were addressed to me by God, my true husband. And I figured if I could commit to Him by spending this time with him in the mornings, I too can become his worthy wife.

      Did I almost run back to the concept of Egypt the other day? Yep. Sure did. But that’s the beauty of this community and these daily readings. They remind you to stay on the right track.

      Praying for your heart and sending you lots of love! Thank you for reminding me to stay on course today.

    • lisa

      oh precious one, I have fought a similar battle. I love the image of Jesus carrying you…it is also what sustained me during a divorce I never wanted. Keep letting the loving Coach cheer you on! You are loved and He delights in you!

    • Tricia C

      Thank you B.

    • Andrea

      I still don’t understand how you haven’t written a book yet. At least a blog. I was just talking with my voice coach yesterday how funny it is that we need coaches in life. How we don’t just give it our all from the very start, we need someone to encourage, push, direct, discipline, strengthen us, and how even our Heavenly Father, he is our coach each day, the best one at that. <3 thanks for sharing your heart. Praying peace for your heart during tumultuous storms.

      • ~ B ~

        Andrea, you are incredibly kind to me, I wouldn’t know where to begin. Thank you for your words!

  • I’ve been thinking about running, too, but God running. The song by Phillips, Craig and Dean “When God Ran” has been playing in my mind for a couple of days. I’ve pictured God running. Anxious as a parent to see his child again. I’m praying for some one who I long to see turn to Jesus. She is a runner and I am praying that I can talk to her about how much God loves her. All of your comments have been an encouragement to me! Thank you!

  • “Because love isn’t always giving us what we want; it’s being Who we need.” Amen & Amen!

    My heart rejoices in this! There are times I’m frustrated that the Lord hasn’t done for me what I want him to but when I reflect on the ways He’s loved and provided for me in ways I could never imagine….I rejoice!

  • Tochi Heredia

    I hate running (as in the physical activity), but metaphorical running? Well, it’s not that I love it, but it comes to me quite easily.
    I run to isolation, I run to my abilities, I run to worldy comfort, I run to the familiar, I ran away from my God.

    The other day I had a very bad reaction to someone’s comment at work and then the shame and panic overpowered me and I wanted to flee the scene, to keep running until I was at home, curled up under a blanket.
    But no, I couldn’t​ run away. I had a responsibility, I had made commitment.
    So I went to the restroom, took a few deep breaths, and asked God for His help.
    He wanted me to do the opposite of running: “Be still and know that I am God” -Psalm 46:10

    • Kimberly Martinson

      Thank you for sharing this, Tachi. It helps me understand why Psalm 46:10 would be so significant to me right now as I bear some burdens. I need to. OT run away. I didn’t understand before but now I do.

  • Churchmouse

    Ah Kaitlin, I know from where you speak. My dad was a runner. He did not have the svelte lean body build but he had the desire and the will. He also believed it cured all. I took up running not for health benefits but to spend time with my dad and, truth be told, to gain some recognition from him. I trained and trained for my first marathon. My dad was so proud of my effort. He was convinced my goal was to finish fast and ahead of most in my age group. He was going to run also, to keep me company, to spur me on to Victory! Well…my goal was different and far more realistic. I wanted to finish. I wanted to run, not walk, all 26.2 miles. I did not care about my time – I simply wanted to finish and not throw up at the end. Really. That was my goal. My dad and I started out together but it quickly became apparent that he was out to make a personal best and I was simply aiming to finish upright. At five miles he was a few steps ahead. By ten miles I could barely see the back of his shirt. My dad finished the marathon and then started back, looking for me. He found me and jogged alongside, encouraging me to continue on and maybe pick up my pace. I gave him a look (you can imagine) and held on to my ten minute mile. (Yes that’s slow). I crossed the finish line, upright, tired and in complete control of my stomach contents. In my mind, victory had been achieved. I received no award, no real accolades. There were many who finished far faster. But I was satisfied. I had stayed the course. My dad told everyone I could have run faster. I could have done better. After all, he was older and he finished before me. I just smiled and noticed that his finishers medal looked no different than mine. We both made it to the end. Our methods and goals were just different. God knows the individual way that is best for each of us on our race in this life. We do well not to compare but rather to be faithful. Israel lost its way but that did not cause God to be any less faithful to them. As I’ve been reading Isaiah, I am humbled by His faithfulness to a wayward, unruly and ungrateful people. It comforts me to know He will always be faithful to me. He comes alongside. He keeps me moving forward. He is both with me on my race and also waiting for me at the finish line. However long it takes, He is there. No criticism. No “you should have” or “you could have” but only “well done, good and faithful servant.”. Isaiah reminds me the race is long and it is hard. I may be breathless at the end but Jesus will be there. I can count on it! And He will be smiling.

  • I appreciate Tina’s illustration – about how our God run to – and alongside – us even when we run away. I have felt pursued by Him even when – and especially when – I don’t feel worthy or interested. Grateful for a God who is patient and kind.

  • Talking of running, I had to smile, as I recalled a memory of my daughter, at the dentists. I was waiting for her in the waiting room whilst she went in for a check up… just getting into a story in a magazine, when literally a gust of wind turned the pages, I looked up to see my daughter high tailing it out of the waiting room door, through the exit, and down the road! She never looked back..

    She ran all the way home!

    Unless you are a runner and like running, I think most might profess to not being runners, might even stretch to saying we don’t like running…. and yet like my beautiful girl, we would run at any given turn that wasn’t what we expected, or wanted to happen, or turn out as we thought it should…. We are runners… to the point where Isaiah , prophesied we would be! That’s how serious ‘runners’ we are!

    Looking to, or running to the Holy One is not always our first port of call, it is not always our first thought….

    But praise praise God…

    He runs …to, …alongside, …with, …and for us. He is our champion, our forever promise of hope, of love, of grace, never ever to leave us….He is the keeper of His promises, He is the Good we all aspire to, the Faithful we all want to be, He is the runner that runs TO…NOT away from…. He is Love without walls, boundaries or otherwise… He is God…. Amen.

    Running late (lol), for work… sending love wrapped hugs to all. Blessings… xxx

    • candacejo

      Beautiful word picture (or video) of your daughter running away! I have felt that way many times in the dentist chair. Thank you for the visual and be blessed, my friend ♥

    • Margrietvw

      This somehow made the most sense to me reading today’s parts of scripture. Oh, how we run, how I run! I wouldn’t be able to run for a minute, but I flee from anything and everything. Running away is in our blood – sometimes of fear that’s real, but mostly from what’s good for us but feels like it’s too hard. Thank you for your words!

    • Tochi Heredia

      Tina, such a beautiful memory!

      Thank you for your words, they helped me see clearly that I’ve been running the opposite way during these days of uncertainty and pain.
      “He is love without walls”. I love that!!!!!

      Have a great Wednesday!

    • Bethany

      That will preach, Tina!

    • ~ B ~

      I feel a kindred-ship to your sweet daughter, T. I was a runner too from my physicians and my dentists, yep, my sweet Momma was exhausted but she persevered in the care and keeping of me as you so wonderfully did your beauty. Hugs to you, my friend, for sharing such a beautiful memory and continuing to share your daughter’s story with us all.

    • Mamajonk

      I always love your words, but your memories of your beloved daughter are so sweet. Thank you for sharing your heart. Blessings from So. California.

  • AnnMarieJonathan

    Good morning ladies

    I am also training for my first 10k on April 1. I can totally relate with what the writer says about trying to be consistent. But no matter how consistent we aim to be there is always a possibility we may not “win” the intended prize. That just points to our flesh and human frailty. Thank the Lord we have a constant in our lives that cannot go back on His promises. Even when pain and fatigue is upon us, God is still a constant force in our lives. Actually HE is the only constant force in each individual life because man fails man.

  • Micah lee

    This is my first day of doing this study. Jumping in late. God has been tugging on me to get into this for a couple weeks now. Now I wish I’d listened earlier! I am training for my first 5k right now. I’m not a real runner either. I’m just taking that as confirmation that this is where I’m supposed to be in terms of bible study right now.

    • Ann

      You will be glad you are here! Isaiah is a wonderful book and this has been an equally wonderful study! I have given up sleep for Lent in order to retrain myself to read His Word each morning, and I have found myself less tired and more eager each day! Welcome!

    • Mari

      Your going to do great Micah! Don’t give up. You will enjoy that great feeling at the FINISH line! Praying for you and welcome to this study!

    • She Reads Truth

      Welcome, Micah! You are never too late to join in the reading of God’s Word – we are so glad to have you with us!

      – Stormye

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